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Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Of what odd visions composed my dreams that night I am mercifully unaware, but I do know that I slept in a tangle with the steering wheel, horribly cramped, until the next day’s sun had risen enough to force me awake with its burn. I was immediately and almost frantically disoriented, an abnormal state for a traveler like myself, and it took several anxious moments to collect my rattled mind. In doing that I recalled an odd sensation, as if something had been moving things about within me, and had replaced them somewhat out of sorts. Shaking off this sensation, as I said, took some time, during which several situations arose that stirred such discomfort as to eclipse that lingering discord entirely.

Up to now you have listened without comment, and shown no signs of scorn or humor, but now is where this tale shall take a turn towards the mad, and I stand the risk of appearing ninety degrees slanted off track. But I hasten to urge you, listener; hear me out with that same charitable ear, and by the end of this you may be a changed person, and the Earth may yet stand some slim degree of hope.

As I said, I awoke somewhat at a mental loss, and upon unfolding my cramped limbs from behind the wheel I saw that my physical state was sadly reflective of my drowsy mind; I was not, as I had thought, on the shoulder of that fat black snake of Interstate. The road that stretched out in front and behind me was reddish hardpack, with gravel at odd spots where the countless sandstorms had let it remain. I stretched out my legs and took a few steps around the car, searching the horizon for signs of direction or omen, as either would have been a welcome guest to my otherwise unsettled mind. I found only greater puzzlement when regarding the parking job I had done with the car; it was pulled off the road at an angle of complete perpendicularity, offering no clues as to which direction I had come. The sand and dust of the tough, rutted road had been blown in the night since my passing, and all traces of tracks that the wheels might have left were erased. At this my unease rolled over in my gut, like an awakening snake swallowed whole while sleeping.

My next thought for some semblance of navigation was the sun, yet even that was proven hopeless. Before I could look from the road to the sky, I saw my shadow was spread beneath me. I confirmed the sun’s neutral position directly above. Hours would pass before it had moved enough to offer foolproof direction, and in my shaken state I could not sit and wait. A choice, then, had to be made as to which way I might strike out, and as a man of reason even when panicked I grabbed into the back seat for my binoculars.

Peering through and adjusting the sights seemed to have a focusing effect on my mind, and as I panned slowly across the flat sand towards the distant red hills I had a momentary sense of shimmering against the otherwise stable horizon. Tracking back towards the phenomenon, I saw that it seemed localized, as if caused not by the permeating heat but by something akin to evaporation. I continued to rotate my vision, trying to take in any distinction, any slight intonation of proper direction, but found only red sand and rock, the latter of which in places seemed eroded into foreign and intentional formations.

Locating nothing but a single raven that passed far off before fleeing from view, I climbed back into the sauna of the enclosed car and quickly cranked the key.

The nothingness which occurred shook me with a force that may as well have been the thunder of an angry father. Again I turned the key, feeling the parts of the ignition switch rotate with metallic friction, but without the familiar stir of the engine. The stone that my heart had become began to hurt, as if I had just swallowed a large cube of ice. I recalled with a blast a nightmare of being shot in the chest.

These thoughts of frost and crusting fear made me react to the heat with a powerful thirst, my mouth since dried in denial of the deep terror leaking from my eyes as slightest tears. That the sun had been black or the land aflame could not have added to the shock of that car when again and again it failed to start. Only my natural calm, and practiced, meditative breathing kept me from shrieking from that point on.

For indeed, a mental picture was forming, of a puzzle in which I was forced to be part, whose picture was as of yet indiscernible but whose implications in design led to impressions of chaos and blurs of pain.

Still that thirst persisted with the stale draught of mouth which only those who have slept in the desert can know, and I almost cried out when I recalled the four remaining bottles nestled on ice in the back. There was a taste of the deep malt in my mouth even before I could reach behind to unlatch the cooler. It was a hoax of my senses, which had locked on to the only saving factor in an otherwise grim situation.

It was with that imagined froth on my lips that I screamed, exploding with such recoiling horror that I felt my throat roughen and tear before that cry subsided. For when I pried the lid from the ice chest, a puff of humid vapor escaped along with a smell as faint as bones. Within that hollow, where ice should have been, there was only sand. The bottles were gone, which I proved to myself by dragging my hands frantically through that accursed red dust, over and over, as if I could stumble across them in that small container of sand. I began to laugh then, and it was that dry laugh, emitted from my lips but not my own at all, that frightened me the most.

After a long session of rest that resembled trembling paralysis, I managed to blot out the enormous and dark puzzle that loomed like a dropping shadow around me. I got out of the car, a wise enough choice as it was a literal oven within there. In a rare flash of foresight I reached back into the superheated car and retrieved the binoculars. The nearest shade was beneath the oddly eroded rock formations I mentioned earlier, so not knowing for certain which way on the road would lead out of this desolation, I struck out on foot in the direction I thought to be north.

The sun was a constant weight, at times feeling like a relentless flaming stone pressing me harder still, until I felt my legs would give or my spine would snap under its forging and furious glare. There was one point during that first long walk, what I estimate timidly as halfway, where I came to the conclusion that the sun was not moving at all, that no change had occurred in the direction of its flare nor the cast of my shadow on that blood red sand. That time was somehow suspended was the next jump in logic to make, and while I now surmise your growing skepticism, I must ask your restraint again, perhaps stronger still, to avoid casting aside all my hunches and conclusions with the natural loathing of hoax. By my tale’s end you will have given up all doubt in the implausible to steel your defense against the impossible.

Just when I had concluded that the unchanging sands were infinite, and that those increasingly odd formations were somehow forever away, I came to a place where water had long ago eroded a wash, now deep and dry, with a pebble-strewn bottom about ten feet below me. The zigzag path of the miniature canyon led roughly towards the formation I had chosen as my obligatory destination, and for a reason unknown but oddly comforting, I wanted to be below the horizon line, out of sight.

I followed that narrow for what must have been many miles, and upon occasion that lonely channel would meet with another, and branch off. Wanting to be able to backtrack in a hurry was another inexplicable notion that I valued at the time, so I remained true to the widest concourse in what proved to be a deepening, convoluted gorge.

Still, the sun was a flat fire above me.

After a time that seemed to heat and stretch with the baking day I at last found shade in a patch beneath an outcropping rock. As I fell against the cliff in a sweating pant, I gasped for the cooler, shaded air, drinking it in like thick liquid mint. Sitting until I caught my breath, I found my eyes tracing the many tracks in the sand, all sizes, and of various odd and troubling shapes. It appeared this area was utilized by an assortment of creatures, some of which left tracks I could not identify. Even the familiar marks of lizards and insects seemed to wander in an odd, almost cursive way. I had the sudden feeling of viewing but not seeing, an awareness of a whole that had yet to become tangible. I felt certain a clue to my dilemma lay hidden in the crisscrossed animal paths, that I was staring at letters yet could not read the words they collectively formed.

A scream from above shook me instantly to my feet with a handful of sand, and I hurled it immediately into the air at the source of that terrible screech. Before my eyes could distinguish it’s black form against the flare of full sun, the raven was pelted by the fine powder and burst from its perch into flight.

Thunder was my heart in a lightning cage of ribs. So great had that scare been in contrast to my previous exhausted repose that I was by comparison quite energized. Adrenaline had restored my power while robbing me of calm. Knees like loose hinges stretched me shakily to my feet, and I saw when I stood that my sweat had left a spot damp in the dust. I also saw a small pile of pebbles on the outcrop of rock where the bird had rested, and bent in to get a better look.

Not pebbles, but kernels of dried corn were piled into a tiny cairn there, a detailed and carefully stacked formation that indicated from its base the four cardinal points. I found myself thinking of small beings, and tiny secrets in the hollows they built. So great was the precision of the stack, however, that I felt certain no animal was capable of the feat. Every kernel was placed so that its smallest end pointed outward in a radial fashion, reminiscent of a starfish, or the sun.

Recalling that angry enemy summoned back the scorching heat I had in my daze entirely misplaced. My skin was growing taught, and my shoulders had begun to burn. I peered up through cracked fingers and saw that the sun was free of the tractor that held it for hours at the zenith of its passing. It was now moving, however imperceptibly, towards afternoon. Soon there would be a cooler if not comfortable climate. I smiled as I thought of that golden, late afternoon glow that was the finale of each summer day.

My smile departed, considering the lengthy shade of night.

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Archive of Stories
and Authors

Sean Padlo's

Sean Padlo's

Sean Padlo's exact whereabouts
are never able to be fully
pinned down, but what we
do know about him is laced
with the echoes of legend.
He's already been known
to haunt certain areas of
the landscape, a trick said
to only be possible by being
able to manipulate it from
the future. His presence
among the rest of us here
at the freezine sends shivers
of fear deep in our solar plexus.

Konstantine Paradias & Edward

Konstantine Paradias's

Konstantine Paradias is a writer by
choice. At the moment, he's published
over 100 stories in English, Japanese,
Romanian, German, Dutch and
Portuguese and has worked in a free-
lancing capacity for videogames, screen-
plays and anthologies. People tell him
he's got a writing problem but he can,
like, quit whenever he wants, man.
His work has been nominated
for a Pushcart Prize.

Edward Morris's

Edward Morris's

Edward Morris is a 2011 nominee for
the Pushcart Prize in literature, has
also been nominated for the 2009
Rhysling Award and the 2005 British
Science Fiction Association Award.
His short stories have been published
over a hundred and twenty times in
four languages, most recently at
PerhihelionSF, the Red Penny Papers'
SUPERPOW! anthology, and The
Magazine of Bizarro Fiction. He lives
and works in Portland as a writer,
editor, spoken word MC and bouncer,
and is also a regular guest author at
the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival.

Tim Fezz's

Tim Fezz's

Tim Fezz hails out of the shattered
streets of Philly destroying the air-
waves and people's minds in the
underground with his band OLD
FEZZIWIG. He's been known to
dip his razor quill into his own
blood and pen a twisted tale
every now and again. We are
delighted to have him onboard
the FREEZINE and we hope
you are, too.

Daniel E. Lambert's

Daniel E. Lambert teaches English
at California State University, Los
Angeles and East Los Angeles College.
He also teaches online Literature
courses for Colorado Technical
University. His writing appears
in Silver Apples, Easy Reader,
Other Worlds, Wrapped in Plastic
and The Daily Breeze. His work
also appears in the anthologies
When Words Collide, Flash It,
Daily Flash 2012, Daily Frights
2012, An Island of Egrets and
Timeless Voices. His collection
of poetry and prose, Love and
Other Diversions, is available
through Amazon. He lives in
Southern California with his
wife, poet and author Anhthao Bui.


Phoenix has enjoyed writing since he
was a little kid. He finds much import-
ance and truth in creative expression.
Phoenix has written over sixty books,
and has published everything from
novels, to poetry and philosophy.
He hopes to inspire people with his
writing and to ask difficult questions
about our world and the universe.
Phoenix lives in Salt Lake City, Utah,
where he spends much of his time
reading books on science, philosophy,
and literature. He spends a good deal
of his free time writing and working
on new books. The Freezine of Fant-
asy and Science Fiction welcomes him
and his unique, intense vision.
Discover Phoenix's books at his author
page on Amazon. Also check out his blog.

Adam Bolivar's

Adam Bolivar's

Adam Bolivar's

Adam Bolivar is an expatriate Bostonian
who has lived in New Orleans and Berkeley,
and currently resides in Portland, Oregon
with his beloved wife and fluffy gray cat
Dahlia. Adam wears round, antique glasses
and has a fondness for hats. His greatest
inspirations include H.P. Lovecraft,
Jack tales and coffee. He has been
a Romantic poet for as long as any-
one can remember, specializing in
the composition of spectral balladry,
utilizing to great effect a traditional
poetic form that taps into the haunted
undercurrents of folklore seldom found
in other forms of writing.
His poetry has appeared on the pages
of such publications as SPECTRAL
CTHULHU, and a poem of his,
"The Rime of the Eldritch Mariner,"
won the Rhysling Award for long-form
poetry. His collection of weird balladry
and Jack tales, THE LAY OF OLD HEX,
was published by Hippocampus Press in 2017.

David Agranoff's

David Agranoff's

David Agranoff is the author of the
following books: Ring of Fire (Eraserhead
Press, 2018), Flesh Trade (co-written
w/Edward Morris; published by Create-
Space, 2017), Punk Rock Ghost Story
(Deadite Press, 2016), Amazing Punk
Stories (Eraserhead Press, 2016),
Boot Boys of the Wolf Reich (Eraserhead
Press, 2014), Hunting the Moon Tribe
(Eraserhead Press, 2011), The Vegan
Revolution...with Zombies (Eraserhead
Press, 2010), and Screams from a Dying
World (Afterbirth Books, 2009).
David is a hardcore vegan and tireless
environmentalist. His contributions to
the punk horror scene and the planet in
general have already established him
as a bright new writer and activist to
watch out for. The Freezine of Fantasy
and Science Fiction welcomes him and
his defiant vision open-heartedly.

David is a busy man, usually at work
on several different novels or projects
at once. He is sure to leave his mark on
a world teetering over the edge of
ecological imbalance.

Sanford Meschkow's

Sanford Meschkow is a retired former
NYer who married a Philly suburban
Main Line girl. Sanford has been pub-
lished in a 1970s issue of AMAZING.
We welcome him here on the FREE-
ZINE of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Brian "Flesheater" Stoneking's

Brian "Flesheater" Stoneking's

Brian "Flesheater" Stoneking currently
resides in the high desert of Phoenix,
Arizona where he enjoys campy horror
movies within the comfort of an Insane
Asylum. Search for his science fiction
stories at The Intestinal Fortitude in
the Flesheater's World section.
The Memory Sector is his first
appearance in the Freezine of
Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Owen R. Powell's

Little is known of the mysterious
Owen R. Powell (oftentimes referred
to as Orp online). That is because he
usually keeps moving. The story
Noetic Vacations marks his first
appearance in the Freezine.

Gene Stewart
(writing as Art Wester)

Gene Stewart's

Gene Stewart is a writer and artist.
He currently lives in the Midwest
American Wilderness where he is
researching tales of mystical realism,
writing ficta mystica, and exploring
the dark by casting a little light into
the shadows. Follow this link to his
website where there are many samples
of his writing and much else; come

Daniel José Older's

Daniel José Older's

Daniel José Older's spiritually driven,
urban storytelling takes root at the
crossroads of myth and history.
With sardonic, uplifting and often
hilarious prose, Older draws from
his work as an overnight 911 paramedic,
a teaching artist & an antiracist/antisexist
organizer to weave fast-moving, emotionally
engaging plots that speak whispers and
shouts about power and privilege in
modern day New York City. His work
has appeared in the Freezine of Fantasy
and Science Fiction, The ShadowCast
Audio Anthology, The Tide Pool, and
the collection Sunshine/Noir, and is
featured in Sheree Renee Thomas'
Black Pot Mojo Reading Series in Harlem.
When he's not writing, teaching or
riding around in an ambulance,
Daniel can be found performing with
his Brooklyn-based soul quartet
Ghost Star. His blog about the
ridiculous and disturbing world
of EMS can be found here.

Paul Stuart's

Paul Stuart is the author of numerous
biographical blurbs written in the third
person. His previously published fiction
appears in The Vault of Punk Horror and
His non-fiction financial pieces can be found
in a shiny, west-coast magazine that features
pictures of expensive homes, as well as images
of women in casual poses and their accessories.
Consider writing him at,
if you'd like some thing from his garage. In fall
2010, look for Grade 12 Trigonometry and
Pre-Calculus -With Zombies.

Rain Grave's

Rain Graves is an award winning
author of horror, science fiction and
poetry. She is best known for the 2002
Poetry Collection, The Gossamer Eye
(along with Mark McLaughlin and
David Niall Wilson). Her most
recent book, Barfodder: Poetry
Written in Dark Bars and Questionable
Cafes, has been hailed by Publisher's
Weekly as "Bukowski meets Lovecraft..."
in January of 2009. She lives and
writes in San Francisco, performing
spoken word at events around the
country. 877-DRK-POEM -

Icy Sedgwick's

Icy Sedgwick is part writer and part
trainee supervillain. She lives in the UK
but dreams of the Old West. Her current
works include a ghost story about a Cavalier
and a Western tale of retribution. Find her
ebooks, free weekly fiction and other
shenanigans at Icy’s Cabinet of Curiosities.

Blag Dahlia's
armed to the teeth

BLAG DAHLIA is a Rock Legend.
Singer, Songwriter, producer &
founder of the notorious DWARVES.
He has written two novels, ‘NINA’ and

G. Alden Davis's

G. Alden Davis wrote his first short story
in high school, and received a creative
writing scholarship for the effort. Soon
afterward he discovered that words were
not enough, and left for art school. He was
awarded the Emeritus Fellowship along
with his BFA from Memphis College of Art
in '94, and entered the videogame industry
as a team leader and 3D artist. He has over
25 published games to his credit. Mr. Davis
is a Burningman participant of 14 years,
and he swings a mean sword in the SCA.
He's also the best friend I ever had. He
was taken away from us last year on Jan
25 and I'll never be able to understand why.
Together we were a fantastic duo, the
legendary Grub Bros. Our secret base
exists on a cross-hatched nexus between
the Year of the Dragon and Dark City.
Somewhere along the tectonic fault
lines of our electromagnetic gathering,
shades of us peel off from the coruscating
pillars and are dropped back into the mix.
The phrase "rest in peace" just bugs me.
I'd rather think that Greg Grub's inimitable
spirit somehow continues evolving along
another manifestation of light itself, a
purple shift shall we say into another
phase of our expanding universe. I
ask myself, is it wishful thinking?
Will we really shed our human skin
like a discarded chrysalis and emerge
shimmering on another wavelength
altogether--or even manifest right
here among the rest without their
even beginning to suspect it? Well
people do believe in ghosts, but I
myself have long been suspicious
there can only be one single ghost
and that's all the stars in the universe
shrinking away into a withering heart
glittering and winking at us like
lost diamonds still echoing all their
sad and lonely songs fallen on deaf
eyes and ears blind to their colorful
emanations. My grub brother always
knew better than what the limits
of this old world taught him. We
explored past the outer peripheries
of our comfort zones to awaken
the terror in our minds and keep
us on our toes deep in the forest
in the middle of the night. The owls
led our way and the wilderness
transformed into a sanctuary.
The adventures we shared together
will always remain tattooed on
the pages of my skin. They tell a
story that we began together and
which continues being woven to
this very day. It's the same old
story about how we all were in
this together and how each and
every one of us is also going away
someday and though it will be the far-
thest we can manage to tell our own
tale we may rest assured it will be
continued like one of the old pulp
serials by all our friends which survive
us and manage to continue
the saga whispering in the wind.

Shae Sveniker's

Shae is a poet/artist/student and former
resident of the Salt Pit, UT, currently living
in Simi Valley, CA. His short stories are on
Blogger and his poetry is hosted on Livejournal.

Nigel Strange's

Nigel Strange lives with his wife and
daughter, cats, and tiny dog-like thing
in their home in California where he
occasionally experiments recreationally
with lucidity. PLASTIC CHILDREN
is his first publication.

J.R. Torina's

J.R. Torina was DJ for Sonic Slaughter-
house ('90-'97), runs Sutekh Productions
(an industrial-ambient music label) and
Slaughterhouse Records (metal record
label), and was proprietor of The Abyss
(a metal-gothic-industrial c.d. shop in
SLC, now closed). He is the dark force
behind Scapegoat (an ambient-tribal-
noise-experimental unit). THE HOUSE
IN THE PORT is his first publication.

K.B. Updike, Jr's

K.B. Updike, Jr. is a young virgin
Virginia writer. KB's life work,
published 100% for free:
(We are not certain if K.B. Updike, Jr.
has lost his Virginian virginity yet.)